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Mike Moore -

Teaching passing to good solo jugglers

Had fun last night teaching passing to a club member who had a reasonable 5b cascade, some 6b, and a dash of 7b under his belt. Figured I'd play to his strengths and start with 7b ultimates (him passing crosses, of course). That went well, so we went to 9b ultimates, and eked out a qualify!

On a related note: the beginning of our club's hardcore recruitment and retention efforts have begun, and yielded fantastic results so far. Looking forward to seeing how this plays out in the next few months.

Joerg - - Parent

How does this recruitment look like? We would also like to have more permanent members in our University juggling club. Do you already use the sheet of juggling achivements?

Mike Moore - - Parent

Yes, I made a sheet of juggling achievements, and I'll share two versions here:

This one, which I think is a slightly better achievement ladder:

And this one, which is better for recruitment:

Another thing that's been working well is having a blanket with props on it and a sign saying, "Want to learn? Take three and come talk to us!". We're hoping to further decrease the barrier to entry by having designated beginner-teachers who wear sashes.

Last night at our AGM, we made an executive position called Recruitment and Retention, for which I will be the pioneering officer. Looking forward to seeing what I can do.

Joerg - - Parent

Thanks for sharing.

I have already seen the first sheet on reddit. Now, you have made some modifications and included multiplex and performing. That sounds good ;-) Carry (one-beat factory) was removed and inverted box is on grade 9. For me the inverted boy is still a challenge although I can do N-box, shuffle, ...

The second one seems to be a good start for newcomers. Including passing is also nice.

Offering different props is also good. In our club for instance nearly no one juggles rings.

At our university courses start typically in October and April. On average there are about 10 newcomers. Some of them just want do try something new and some of them could already juggle. Most of the newcomers did not continue longer than half a year. After half a year they can juggle 3 balls and can do a few tricks (grade 4 in your beginer sheet). Those who stay longer can typically juggle 4-5 balls, 3-4 clubs, and pass 6 clubs (about grade 7 in advanced sheet).

'Pioneering officer' sounds good. Would like to hear more about your recruitment experience in the future.

Little Paul - - Parent

Back when I was running a university club (around 20 years ago) we found that we had better retention when we emphasised the social aspects of the club.

The weekly juggling meetings were just the start - we always finished the meetings by going to the pub, organised pizza nights. When the weather was nice, extra juggling meetings outside, if there was a circus in town we organised a group booking etc.

We took a group minibus to every juggling convention we could find, and organised trips to visit other juggling clubs in nearby cities.

"Juggling for the sake of juggling" can easily become a solo pursuit, and as humans are fundamentally a social animal, that will only hold the attention of some people for longer than a few weeks... but if you can include the "person" as well as the "skill" you'll find a larger group of people stick around.

Mike Moore - - Parent

I'd like to build in more social aspects to the club but am struggling with it a bit. One social thing we do well is fests: we had about 10 people make the >10 hour drive to Turbofest this year!

For gettogethers, we'd probably have to put them on weekends because our practices go from 6-~8:30 pm. Many people find it hard to get there earlier and (by my eye) tend to want to leave and get last-minute assignments done when it ends. An organized pizza night sounds fun, I'll have to jump through some paperwork hoops but I think it'd be worth it.

Little Paul - - Parent

6pm - 8:30 pm is a pretty normal timeframe for weekday evening juggling clubs.

We always used to go straight from the practice session to the nearest bar, anyone who had a last minute assignment could duck out at that point and go do their homework, but there would usually be a few who would stick around for an hour or two. I know a lot of clubs in the UK run on this model, meet, juggle, eat/drink/chat.

All you need to do is say "next week, I'm thinking of going to the bar/cafe/burger joint for a drink after the session. Anyone who wants to come is welcome!" and then follow through on it. If you can manage to do that a few weeks in a row, those who want to hang around can do so.

I guess we were in a pretty lucky position being in Birmingham (UK) in the late 1990s, there were 3 other juggling clubs in the same city and another 3 or 4 within about a 40min drive. We used to pile as many people as we could fit into a car and go visit other clubs nearby. On a couple of occasions we planned it a bit more thoroughly and took a minibus.

In one of it's more popular periods, the University of Bristol juggling society met on a Sunday afternoon, finished around 7pm and then decamped to an open mic comedy night in a bar that was about 15 minutes walk away. We'd hang around there drinking, chatting, laughing at the comedians. It wasn't unusual to get 20 of us along to the comedy. Then a comedy night opened up at another venue on a Tuesday evening and we started going to that as well (even though there was no juggling on a Tuesday)

It's things like that which can bring a group of people together and help them make friends, they'll keep coming back for those friendships even if they're struggling to make progress with the juggling.

The Bristol Uni Society also used to organise a juggling convention to take place early in the second term - so the first term was spent getting people interested in juggling, involving them socially, and getting them involved in organising the juggling convention. By the time the second term came around, they were in deep and couldn't escape ;)

Joerg - - Parent

Attending together a convention is indeed a social aspect. We did this for the EJC in Almere in 2016.
A 10 hour drive is really long. Looking at the event page here, I could reach in principal in 2018 more than 20 conventions in less than 10 hours from my hometown. Unfortunately, two of the yearly small conventions nearby (<30 km) took place last year for the last time.

Another social aspect is practicing together for a performance. From time to time we have this opportunity at some events in the university.

Mike Moore - - Parent

The 10 hour thing was me bragging about how dedicated these people are! Didn't mean to imply that it was the nearest fest or anything.

The closest fests for us are:
Guelph fest - 0 min away =D
Waterloo fest - ~40 min away
RIT - ~3.5 hours
Limestone - ~4 hours
Montreal - ~ 7 hours
And then there are a bunch of ~7 in assorted places in the States.

We certainly don't have half of the fest density as many places in Europe, but as far as Canada goes, we're almost ideally located!

Mike Moore - - Parent

Ah, and we definitely do performances. Which reminds me, I've got to get audio to someone...


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